More on Dairy Goat “Correctness”

Yesterday I posted about the importance of correctness in any dairy goat.  I gave you my opinions about why I think it is important.  Here I want to share a few stunning LaManchas with you.  Lucky Star Farm (www.luckystarfarm.com) is a nationally recognized breeder of very high quality LaManchas.  Yes, they happen to be part of the core foundation of our herd (Happily I might add!).  If you feel so inclined, look through the goats on their site.  They are a fine example of what a well-bred, well-managed dairy goat looks like.  I know there are comparably beautiful goats of every breed out there.  I am sharing this as “an” example of quality to look for and strive for in your own herds.

What pictures don’t show is milk quality and palatability.  Well, I guess you will just have to taste our cheese to verify that one.

Selections from Gothberg Farms

Wine Wednesday

We have come to look forward to Wine Wednesday around here.  It is a day of discovery and trying new combinations, and very often new foods and wines altogether.  Today is some of all of it.

The selected wine is Kestrel Vintners 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is a full bodied, very berry, delicious tasting wine.  The berry flavor lingers long and lavish on the palate.  It combined well with everything on the board tonight.  Add to that the new swanky wine glasses from beloved grown kids, and the flavor was further enhanced.

For the tasty treats, we literally combined what was left from the Holidays and then selected a cheese we thought might be a good match. Bingo!!  We hit a home run tonight!  Being more inclined to veggies and tap water to make the Levi’s fit a little more comfortably this week, this is saying a LOT!

The cured meats were perfect.  We chose Salumi from our beloved Slough Food.  This was a first time to try the Mole, Chile, Cinnamon—–and I assure you it will not be the last.  I thought the spicy paprika was the winner–well, it is great, but the mole spicy, well it just fits the taste buds.  We also included a meat selection from Fra’ Mani.  They are in Berkeley, CA.  Their founder, chef Paul Bertolli, apparently knows his stuff.  Fra’ Mani apparently means “Between or among hands”–We LOVE that.  This guy has a zeal for handcrafted food made in Old World traditions.  Uh, yes, apparently so.  And as if that isn’t enough, he seeks out responsible pig growers too!  This is my favorite part.  He links to his 4 farmers on his web site.  Trust me, these are NOT McDonald’s suppliers.   We loved his meats even BEFORE we knew & respected him and his standards.  They so perfectly fit our style and standards here on the farm.

Interspersed every few bites we had Marcona Almonds.  These were just discovered this year at our most favorite store, Metropolitan Market.  These are referred to as the “Queen of Almonds”.  They are sweeter, fatter, and rounder than their California cousins.  Most come from the Valencia or Alicante regions of Spain.  They are typically roasted in extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.  I’m telling you now, they make ANYTHING better.  We have used them in so many ways since the discovery.  You may just find yourself scarfing them in solo not so infrequently (is there a camera in my house?).  A version of them is also available locally at, you got it, Slough Food.

Ok, the cheese.  No meal, snack, discussion, party, or self-indulgence should be without CHEESE!   For this board, we chose the Raw Milk Caprino Romano (aged just over a year).  If you are not familiar with Caprino Romano, that’s because there is just not a lot of it here in the US.  You may know it as Pecorino (sheeps’ milk), or Romano (cows’ milk), but the Caprino means Goat.  This was my first choice for a raw milk cheese upon my return from Italy in 2008.  It is a keeper-thank you Italy and a lot of other factors.  You may not often consider this as a table cheese, but do not be fooled.  This one IS!  It paired perfectly with the wine and each meat selection.  And when you cook with this cheese, oh baby, you unleash the beast.  Flavors kind of explode when heated.

Enough of this long post. Time to refill the glasses….. ENJOY!

Assessing a Goat’s Back-Side Structure

Here is a good article, timely with kidding fast approaching, if not already started for you.  This is an easy to understand article on the importance of good structure for our hard working girls.  Some of you say, “Oh, but I don’t show, so it does not matter.”  Well, yes, in fact, it does matter.  I don’t show either but I learned early on that what makes a good show goat makes a good dairy goat.  We all need good structure, strong, healthy feet & legs, capacious, well-attached udders,  wide, deep rib cages for increased oxygen exchange, strong shoulders for enhanced ambulation, and I do love a beautiful head on a goat.  In my mind, this may translate to strong jaws for lots of hay eating, wide, clear eyes for better vision.  I also happen to enjoy the look of the long, elegant females.  Then we get down to personal preferences, for which the choices are almost limitless.  I just don’t compromise on milk quality and quantity.  It is possible to have degrees of the best in all of them.  Happy Kidding!

http://www.dairygoatjournal.com/issues/89/89-2/understanding_good_rump_structure_in_a_dairy_goat.html

One More Decision Factor…

So, keep these traits in mind as you begin kidding and deciding what to keep as herd replacements.  Also, if you have weak areas, begin looking for bucks who may be able to help “fix” areas.  All good breeders will be able to assist you with these decisions.  This is an excellent time of year to pick your new Jr. Herdsire for next year.

Thanks to Dairy Goat Journal and 3 Eagles Ranch Nubians & Boers for helping me find this!  I love our information sharing out here in cyber world.  I am convinced it makes us all a little bit better.

Thank you for taking the time to read this so we may all “Promote the Goat” for better health & longevity.

Working Women

Pre-Kidding Checklist

Most of you know this stuff.  it is important to remember to do it.

1.  Assess each doe for body condition.  Make corrections if you have time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2ppHAUbLYY&feature=youtu.be

This short video that may help here.

2.  Be sure vaccines/injections/dewormers are up to date. We use CDT and BoSe here.

Assess Often

3.  Be sure hoofs are trimmed.  We do not trim in last month of pregnancy.  But if you have neglected this, do it.  Just be careful! The does get unwieldy on 3 legs.  Be careful. Avoid falls and injuries.

4.  Clip udders and teats as the udders begin filling.  We also do an “OB CLIP” of the tail area to minimize afterbirth goo after delivery.

5.  Be sure your OB supplies are well stocked.  Nothing as frustrating as realizing at 3am you don’t have iodine for navel dipping or long gloves for an assisted delivery.  Get your orders in NOW.

6.  Also remember to have CMPK drench on hand for late-pregnancy, early postpartum needs.

7.  Stock your own freezer with kidding food for yourself.  Fuel for the caregiver is very important.  Those long, cold, miserable nights will go so much better with nutritious ‘home food’.

Food Matters

8.  Rest Up!  You know this won’t last long.

New Year’s Eve 2012

We will be open here at the farm stand on Saturday, December 31st, from 10am-2pm for cheese sales.

Maybe the Snow Geese Will Be Close

If you have special requests it is very helpful if you can call ahead so we can have them ready.  Don’t forget you can also purchase cheeses by the wheel (they range in size from 1 to 5-ish pounds).  Pricers vary depending on type of cheese and how long it is aged (after all a 3 year gouda does have to pay rent!).

Wishing all of you a healthy, safe, cheese filled New Year.  Thank you for your support.

Maybe the “Girls” Will Come Out & Greet You

Wine Wednesday

If you have been following along, you know I had an awesome cheese sampling at Metropolitan Market-Admiral Store last week.  When I go there, I fall in love every time.  The customers, the staff, and then…when I am done working…the STORE!!!  I promise you we have nothing to compare in Skagit County.  So, what is girl to do?  Of course, she must shop the perimeter of the store quickly before the long, dark drive home. And, being the girl she is, and the shopper she is, of course, cheese gets a prominent place in the cart.  In the store, it felt like a “few” interesting choices.  When I got home and spread them out…….they had multiplied.  Not to worry, a cheese girl cannot have too many selections.

Met Market Cheese Delights

The basil leaf topped cheeses are the house made mozarella from them.  I always bring us farm girls home a treat when I can!

So now to get to the selections & pairings for this evening.  The wine chosen is Sharecroppers, from Sunnyside WA.  We have had this wine before and found it pleasant. It is found with our favorite at Slough Food in Edison (and other places to be sure).  The cheeses selected are:

#1  12 Month Raw Manchego   Sheeps’ milk

#2 Rodin  Pasteurized Sheeps’ Milk

#3 Woman of LaMancha Raw Goats’ Milk

The crackers are Gothberg Farms Olive Oil crackers.  The dessert to the left is our Lemon chèvre Cheesecake.  So at this point, I tell Hubby “Dinner is done!”.  He is such a lucky man and doesn’t even realize it!

Cheese #1-Raw Manchego:  This is a delicious cheese.  Sweet, nutty, & mild.  Also a tad on the dry side.  The wine was a bit too tart for this cheese.

Pretty Rind Manchego

Cheese #2 The Mold ripened Pasteurized Sheeps’ milk cheese:  This cheese has a lovely aroma from the rind.  There are numerous eye holes.  It is sweetly pungent.  The wine brings out the full flavor of both the cheese and the wine.  Good choice for pairing.

Cheese #3 The Woman of LaMancha:  The cheese has a closed texture surrounded by a smoked paprika rind.  It is full flavored and quite creamy.  It has a unique tartness that speaks “quality milk”.  It pairs nicely with the wine, not overpowering for either of them.

The Gothberg Farms Olive Oil Crackers were a perfect compliment to all of the cheeses.  They were each sampled alone & then with the crackers.  These crackers have just the perfect crumb & saltiness for all of the selected cheeses.  Each cheese experienced flavor enhancement with the crackers as opposed to just the cheese by itself.  Considerable testing has gone into these crackers to have them deliver just these characteristics(sic).

And then the cheesecake.  Oh YES, the cheesecake.  It was the perfect palate transition.  This cheesecake blends well with all of the selected cheeses.  However, I do recommend finishing off the wine before the cheesecake.  A small snifter of Limoncello is the perfect finish!

Lemon Chèvre Cheesecake

Chèvre Cheesecakes and Goat Cheese Lasagna

Berries NOT Included

We are accepting special orders for our Lemon Chèvre Cheesecakes, Orange-Amaretto Cheesecakes, and our 5 Goat Cheese Lasagna through December 18, 2011.  Call or contact us SOON to get your orders in for pick up before Christmas.

Cheesecake Tartlets

The cheesecakes in come in tartlet or 8 inch sizes.  The lasagna is made to feed about 2, 4, or appx. 10 people sizes.  Requests honored.

Cheese Week December 13, 2011

While the goats are winding down their milk production for the year, we continue with many exciting and fun cheese opportunities.  We are blessed with so many customer partners in the PNW.  Of course our world tends to involve really good food, and that is a good thing.  The last batch of chèvre will go out today for Metropolitan Markets.  This is always a bittersweet kind of milestone each year. We (all of us girls, including the goats) look forward to the change of pace, but long for the days of summer and chèvre.

Cheese Please!

Thursday December 15th, 4-7pm
We will be at Metropolitan Market in Kirkland sampling cheeses to perfectly compliment ANY holiday cheese platter.   There is also a complimentary wine tasting going on at the same time, so come on out and see what treats you can find for your Holiday Cheer.

Saturday December 17th, 10am-3pm
We will be at the final market for the year at the Bellingham Farmers Market from 10am-3pm.  Debbie will have an abundant table stocked and ready for your Holiday Cheer needs there as well.

Saturday December 17th, 10am-2pm
We will be here at the Farm Stand with all the great choices as well.  We also have a rather large 4-H group coming at 1:00PM, so you are forewarned.

Simple Pleasures

Goat Stats December 2011

Today is a monumental day on the farm.  As of today, we will only be milking once a day!!!!  WooHoo!!! The goats are ready and Debbie and I are surely happy to oblige.  It is a time for us to get some semblance of ‘normal’ in our lives.  We have learned to enjoy every moment of it, because the new kids begin arriving about Valentine’s Day.  But for now: supper, sleep, dates, appointments, cleaning, barn chores, painting, mending, well you get the idea.

We are finishing up the milking year with some healthy, happy goats.  Keep in mind our goats are LaManchas.  They are a dairy breed.  They are known for their awesome personalities and the sweetest, best milk ever tasted (well, IMHO).  We have been at this just about long enough to see improvements in the herd from year to year.  That said, our foundation stock continue to produce quite well.  Just a few of the stats from our last DHIA test:
Doe              Lactation Number    # Milk    Days In Milk
Topaz                #3                       3440           276
Opal                  #4                       3030           302
Pearl                  #5                       3050           298
Zuppa                #2                       2510           259
Zippy                 #1                       2020           261
Zora                   #2                       2810           299
Ditto                   #5                       4880           610

Ten of the does have Milk Equivalents (ME) over 3000#
One has a ME over 4000#  (That would be Topaz)

And remember, we only milked 20 this year.  Others are ending the year very close and some will easily make this next year.  Sure, we are proud of them.  But more than that, we marvel at them every day.  They graciously give 110% every single day, year after year.  Their milk is like melted ice cream.  They are some of life’s best companions.  They are treated very well, and we genuinely love each of them for who they are.